Suge Knight gets 28 years behind bars for 2015 killing

  • 21/09/2018
Suge Knight gets 28 years in prison over 2015 killing.
Marion 'Suge' Knight in a Los Angeles courtroom Photo credit: Reuters (file)

Rap mogul Marion 'Suge' Knight has pleaded no contest in Los Angeles to a charge of manslaughter for a 2015 hit-and-run killing.

He has accepted a 28-year prison sentence under a deal with prosecutors days before his murder trial was set to begin.

In pleading no contest, equivalent to a guilty plea under California law, the 53-year-old co-founder of influential hip-hop label Death Row Records admitted using a "deadly and dangerous weapon" when he ran down two men with his pickup truck.

One of the victims, 55-year-old Terry Carter, later died of his injuries. The second man, Cle Sloan, was left with a badly mangled left foot and head injuries.

The deadly confrontation occurred on January 29, 2015, outside a hamburger stand in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, following a heated argument on the set of a commercial for the film Straight Outta Compton.

Knight, who was out on bail in a robbery case at the time, fled the scene but was later arrested.

Had Knight been convicted of murder and attempted murder as originally charged, he would have faced a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Jury selection in the murder trial had been set to start next week in Los Angeles Superior Court.

As part of the agreement to plead no contest to a single count of voluntary manslaughter, all other charges in the case were dropped.

Two separate criminal cases in which he was charged with robbery and making criminal threats will also be dismissed when he is formally sentenced on October 4, prosecutors said.

Knight's lawyers previously contended he accidentally struck the two men with his vehicle while trying to flee what he thought was an ambush attempt.

But prosecutors said Knight traded punches with Sloan through the window of his truck before putting the vehicle into reverse, knocking Sloan and Carter to the ground, then pulling forward to run over both men.

The incident was captured on videotape by the restaurant's surveillance cameras.

Knight, sporting a greying beard and wearing an orange jail uniform and dark-rimmed glasses, said little during the court proceedings, mostly giving one or two-word answers to a series of procedural questions from Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen.